Food Wholesaler

Board Advisory Services, Executive Alignment & Decision Making On SAP Transformation Program


The Client is a wholesale company supplying food, drink & catering equipment mainly to the restaurant & catering industry in the UK, Sweden & France. It provides merchandising, inventory management & contract logistical services to corporate, national & independent channels. This private-equity owned organisation had decided to launch a major business & IT transformation program to deliver a next generation platform to grow the business and integrate the multiple brands & business units acquired over the past 12 years. The program included an SAP driven transformation program covering business process, IT applications, infrastructure & networks.

The Challenge

  • Originally a family owned company that had grown via acquisition to a £2bn turnover
  • Although the acquired brands remained within the market-place, the acquired companies had been stitched together rather than properly integrated
  • The last 7 years had seen a previously failed business transformation program and little investment in IT
  • The business strategy sought to deliver significant growth, introduce new products & services to enable market differentiation, and innovation
  • The disparate legacy technology across the organisation was struggling to support the current operation, let alone growth – information was poor & untrustworthy

Searchlight Role

  • Searchlight were retained to review the business strategy and assess how IT strategy could be defined to support today and future business operation
  • Searchlight conducted a review of the IT landscape, identifying 125 initiatives to deliver incremental change
  • Searchlight’s review of internal delivery capability concluded that it was below norm due to the lack of skills
  • Searchlight ‘s analysis of operational issues highlighted an increasing trend in downtime, and a shift in focus towards ‘keeping the lights on’ rather than transformation workstreams

Value and Benefit Delivered

  • The Executive Searchlight was provided the support they needed from us to get them ready, and to guide them through the project, using their Executive Alignment IP
  • The IT Strategy was defined and a robust road-map to introduce a common enterprise solution was developed
  • A portfolio management approach was Introduced, reprioritising the projects needing to be delivered from over 100 down to 32
  • The client team was mobilised to prepare them for the pending business transformation
  • The selection exercise for an System Integrator was conducted by us, with on- going board advice and delivery assurance for the life of the project